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Teaching Kids About Energy

Energy conservation is a growing subject, and one that kids should be aware of.

The younger children learn these habits, the longer they will practice them over their lifetime. We now know enough about the effects of energy consumption and over-consumption that we should be teaching today’s youngsters about the importance of saving energy.

Tim Holley has designed a light switch to do just that. He calls it “Tio,” and it’s a ghost-shaped light switch that gives kids a visual reminder of how much energy they’ve used by leaving lights on.

Tio starts out a green and smiling ghost. If the light is left on for more than a few hours, Tio turns yellow and has a shocked expression on its face. If you leave that particular light on for more than eight hours, Tio turns into an angry looking red ghost. The face has a sad mouth and angry looking eyes. Visual reminders are great, especially from a ghost. No child wants to look at an angry ghost all day.

Children can also use visuals from the system’s online website. The information from the light switch is sent to Tio’s computer program so the entire family can see how much energy they are using. Visual positive reinforcement encourages children to do right and save some energy. Holley’s program lets kids grow a “virtual tree” which gets bigger and healthier the more energy they save.

Holley’s design is simple and easy to use. It runs with the idea that conserving energy is a family affair. Parents that exhibit care for the environment are likely to have children who also care for the environment. Children generally respond well to positive reinforcement and Tio could do just that. It could be the design that gets kids interested in conserving energy. It is a great concept and it is well designed.

Even better, it uses facial expressions, which people tend to be receptive towards.

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